Pastis is an anise flavored spirit that is served mixed with water. It originates in South of France. Instead of Pastis, you may also hear the names Pernod or Ricard that are derived from the name of the company Pernod Ricard who use to produce pastis.
The Pastis I am talking about is different though: it is a popular restaurant in the Meat Packing district of NYC, New York. Pastis is a French bistro opened by Keith McNally with Executive Chefs Riad Nasr and Lee Hanson. These names do not ring a bell? They are the same cast as Balthazar in NYC. In fact, the bread served at Pastis comes from Balthazar.
Having heard about it so many times, I decided to go few years back, but did not become a fan of Pastis. As the restaurant is still there and always crowded, I decided to give it another try.
I went on a Friday, for lunch. Let me tell you: it was packed! At the entrance, they tell us that they cannot sit us right away and that we have to wait at the bar for approximately 30 minutes, until lunch is served (there were several empty tables). Interestingly enough, five minutes after we order a drink at the bar, they sit us and we wait for 20 minutes before ordering. I am kind of suspicious that they sat us at the bar so we would consume a drink. I hate this type of practices!
When the croque monsieur comes, several parts look burnt. That's fine, we love burnt cheese. We taste it and it is disappointing: there is not enough béchamel sauce and it is salty. Not worth the $15 it costs! I really prefer the croque monsieur at Brasserie Cognac!
When the burger came, it was promising: lots of cheese, good ratio meat / bun and a nice bun (not sure if homemade by Balthazar). Unfortunately, the meat was a bit dry. The fries are a bit overcooked. Disappointing too!
On top of this, the noise level was pretty high with loud psychedelic music playing! Only the service was good.
So my re-visit to Pastis did not meet my expectations. The food was disappointing and overpriced. I think this place gets its reputation not because of the food, but because of the sceney atmosphere. Not a recommended restaurant for me!
Enjoy (I did not)!
And remember: I just want to eat!